A major challenge in developmental biology is to understand how cells move and interact to form complex multicellular structures. Dr. Zallen’s laboratory uses multidisciplinary approaches to study how tissue architecture is dynamically established and remodeled during development. This talk describes the discovery of a system of spatial information that organizes cell movements in the developing fruit fly embryo to elongate the body axis from head to tail. Interestingly, the global positional code is provided by an ancient family of Toll-related receptors that are widely used for pathogen recognition in the innate immune system. This research elucidates general principles that link molecular signals to the physical forces and collective cell behaviors that establish tissue structure, and may help to reveal how errors in these processes contribute to birth defects and cancer in humans.
Dr. Zallen is a Member and Professor at Sloan Kettering Institute and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She received her A.B. in Biology from Harvard University and her Ph.D. with Dr. Cori Bargmann at the University of California, San Francisco. She did her postdoctoral research with Dr. Eric Wieschaus at Princeton University… Continue Reading